Sharp, Electric Shock-Like Pains After Breast Augmentation

I had my breast implants done 3 days ago and beginning the second day (after the anesthesia wore off), I started to feel a very sharp pain like an electrical shock on my left breast. The pain occurs mostly from waking up in the morning or from a nap.My right breast feels perfectly fine. What's causing this?

Doctor Answers 10

Pain after breast augmentation

Kendra Lee
After any surgery, it is normal to have pain and discomfort.  Whenever nerves are cut, they have raw nerve endings that need to heal.  While they are healing, these raw endings spontaneously fire signals to the brain that can be perceived as anything from an itch to stabbing pain to burning sensation.  These feelings should subside as the nerve endings heal.  If this is causing you excessive amount of discomfort or if this persists for a long time, you should let your surgeon know and he / she can prescribe you some medication for nerve pain.
Martin Jugenburg, MD

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 298 reviews

100 Front St West
Toronto , ON M5J 1E3

You should be more comfortable in 6-9 weeks.

Breast augmentation is often accompanied by pain, swelling and discomfort.These are essentially normal findings which usually resolve with the passage of time.
The sharp, stabbing, electric shock sensation that you describe frequently occurs when sensory nerves become inflamed and irritated.This type of irritation is not unusual when nerves are compressed and stretched.During and after breast augmentation surgery, this is exactly what happens to the nerves that supply the breasts.The breast implant underneath the breast tissue compresses and stretches the soft tissue and nerves that supply the breast.In many cases, the process is made worse by swelling.
Patients often describe a sharp, stabbing, shooting pain that can be very uncomfortable.These symptoms usually resolve in 6 to 9 weeks without intervention.In some cases, aggressive massage can desensitize the area and minimize the pain and discomfort associated with this condition.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 142 reviews

8900 West Dodge Road
Omaha, NE 68114

Sharp Pains after Breast Augmentation

This is a perfectly normal feeling post-surgery.  It is caused by the nerves regenerating and is only temporary. 

Robert N. Young, MD, FACS
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

525 Oak Centre Dr
San Antonio, TX 78258

Pains after augmentation

Patients may experience many different types of pain after surgery. What you describe is not uncommon following breast augmentation. In particular, sharp intermittent pains often times are nerve pains from stretching. These typically subside as the breast tissue adjusts to the implant size.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

660 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431

"Electrical" pains are usually due to nerves healing

It sounds like you are having some normal variation of pain during your very early recovery after breast augmentation. Those nerves will sort themselves out over the coming months, and those pains should lessen. If not, please discuss with your surgeon.

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

6045 Barfield Road
Atlanta, GA 30328

Pain after Breast Augmentation

It is perfectly normal to be having pain at this point. It never fails that one side hurts more despite the same surgery on each side. Our bodies are naturally asymmetric. Sharp shooting pain like you describe is typically nerve pain. This can result from pressure on a nerve, or  irritation from the surgery on a nerve. Nerve pain generally takes a long time to resolve so be patient.

Hayley Brown, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

10001 South Eastern Ave.
Henderson, NV 89052

Pains After Breast Augmentation

Thank you for your question. I have included some typical expectations of breast surgery recovery and signs to watch for following breast augmentation:

  • Stiffness, swelling and bruising in the chest region: These are normal experiences as the skin, muscles and tissue heal. Pain medication and muscle relaxants will help you cope with any discomfort. Consistent sharp pain should be reported to your board-certified surgeon.
  • Hypersensitivity of nipples or lack of sensitivity: This is normal and will gradually resolve over time.
  • A mild to severe itchy feeling of the breasts is possible as healing progresses. An antihistamine like Benadryl can help to alleviate severe, constant itchiness. If the skin becomes red and hot to the touch, contact your board-certified surgeon immediately.
  • Asymmetry, the breasts look different, or heal differently: Breasts may look or feel quite different from one another in the days following surgery. This is normal. No two breasts in nature or following surgery are perfectly symmetrical.
  • Discuss returning to work with your board-certified surgeon, in our office it is typically 3-5 days post-surgery but you may not overexert yourself or do any heavy lifting.
  • You may resume exercise and your normal routine at six weeks unless your surgeon advises otherwise.
The pain you are describing could be nerve regeneration. Please follow up with your board-certified plastic surgeon with any concerns. 

Brian Coan, MD, FACS
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

6216 Fayetteville Rd
Durham, NC 27713

Electrical Pain after Breast Augmentation

I find this to be an extremely common complaint.I think that it’s partly related to the fact that swelling often accumulates along the sides of the breasts when you are sleeping, because it is the most dependent (lowest) area.It could also be related to the fact that a lot of the nerve input to the breast comes from the sides, and the nerves get irritated due to the surgery.Rest assured, however, that this will subside.For most of my patients, this resolves within 1 to 2 weeks.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

362 Fairlawn Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5M 1T6

Breast pains: electrical shocks following implants

It is not unusual to have sharp electrical pains on one side and not the other due to nerve irritation or compression (neuropraxia).

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

880 W Central Rd
Arlington Heights, IL 60005

Shocking Breast Augmentation

Different types of nerve sensations are not uncommon after breast augmentation surgery. Early on it represents nerve irritation from the surgery.  These sensations will resolve over time.

Dr. ES

Earl Stephenson, Jr., MD, DDS, FACS
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

2220 Wisteria Drive
Snellville, GA 30078

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.